'We have sort of' - Ryan Lowe's admission after Preston North End reserves' loss to Blackpool

PNE's reserve team has been made up, mostly, of academy players this season
Ryan LoweRyan Lowe
Ryan Lowe

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe plans to use s enior players in the Central League more often, next season.

The Lilywhites re-joined the competition in the summer of 2021 and first team players often turned out, in the games held at Euxton. This campaign, though, senior squad members have barely been seen - with the Central League XIs predominantly made up of North End's first and second-year scholars.

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Results have been tough too, in the games mostly held at Springfields. PNE lost all four Central League Cup matches - 1-2 to Wrexham, 1-7 to Blackburn Rovers, 0-4 to Burnley and 0-5 to Accrington Stanley. In the league, it's two wins - both against Bolton Wanderers - and five losses, in total. Preston have lost 0-3 to Blackpool in both outings against them.

"Next season, it will be a lot stronger," said Lowe. "This season, we have sort of let it slip a bit because we wanted to keep the core of the group with us. Fixtures on a Saturday and Tuesday are more important than a Central League game, unfortunately. It's been good... we had a discussion with Nick (Harrison) and the coaches - that we would breed and let the youngsters come through. I know the results haven't been good for them, but it's a test of character when you are playing those teams and they've got loads of seniors in there. It's like: 'Is this the real world?'

"So, that is more important... bringing these kids through, the likes of Josh Seary, Noah Mawene and Kian Best. And, then giving them opportunities from the academy, because that's what it is for. Next year it will be a bit different, because the lads who are not playing - we will make sure their schedules are changed around. That'll be to get them some minutes, whether that's here or at Springies or wherever. We feel it is going to be needed.

"We've got to make sure they are fit and available, whereas this year it's been a bit different; lads who've not been playing have come in and got injured. It is a whole science thing with the physios and fitness coaches. But, it's something we will look at a bit better next season. For this, we've just let it ride in that Saturday and Tuesday, and progressing and developing the youngsters, is more important than anything."

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